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Different Data types in Tableau

Tableau is the easy-to-use Business Intelligence tool used in data visualization. As Tableau is a business intelligence and data analysis tool, data is obviously at the center stage of it. Data being an important functional element of Tableau, we need to learn and understand all the underlying features of it such as different data types used, how is data managed, extracted, filtered, merged, etc. in Tableau.

Through Tableau, users can connect databases, files, and other big data sources and can create a shareable dashboard through them.


What are Data Types and Icons?


Data types characterize the data values into their definite type.

Some may be characters (eg- ‘Visualization’), some may be integers (eg- 2022), and some may be floating type (eg- 2.2022), etc.

If a data value is in the form of a date or time (eg. 22/02/2022 or 02:20:40) then the data type date/time is assigned to it.

In this way, every data value lies under certain data types.

In Tableau, we have seven primary data types. The function of Tableau is to automatically detect the data types of various fields, as soon as the data is uploaded from the source and allocate it to the fields. These seven data types are:

  1. String values

  2. Number/Integer values

  3. Date values

  4. Date & Time values

  5. Boolean values

  6. Geographic values

  7. Cluster or mixed values


In the Data pane of Tableau, each data type is denoted with a distinct icon shown in the table below. We can easily identify the data types of the fields in Tableau and also change them if we want.

​ Data Type

Icon

String values(Text)



Integer values(Number)


Date values(MM/DD/YYYY or DD/MM/YYYY)



Date and Time value



Boolean value



Geaographic value



Cluster group or Mixed value



Let us understand each Tableau data type in detail here.


1. String values:

A value is considered as a string when the characters are enclosed in a single or double quote

(as known as single or double inverted commas). For instance, a string data value can be “DataScience” or “DataScience Resources” etc. You can also incorporate double inverted commas into a string for instance,“Hi! How are you?”.

The String data type is further divided into two types, Char and Varchar.



  • Char string type- Char data type normally stores alphanumeric data values having fixed lengths. If the user enters a string value which is greater than the fixed length of the Char data type, then the system returns an error.

  • Varchar string type- Varchar data type also stores alphanumeric data values. As the name suggests, Varchar stores data values having a variable length. So, the user can enter as many string values as they want, without facing any restriction from the system.

The numeric data type values can be either an integer type or floating type. Most fields having numeric data type are of integer type because with float values, users face difficulty in accumulating the decimal point after a certain limit. However, float values can also be used easily in calculations after rounding them up to corresponding integers. A function known as Round function is used for rounding up float values.


2. Number/Integer values:

The numeric data type values can be either an integer type or floating type. Most fields having numeric data type are of integer type because with float values, users face difficulty in accumulating the decimal point after a certain limit. However, float values can also be used easily in calculations after rounding them up to corresponding integers. A function known as Round function is used for rounding up float values.


3. Date and Values:

Tableau supports all forms of date and time likemm-dd-yyyy or dd-mm-yy etc. And the time data values can be in the form of a decade, year, quarter, month, hour, minutes, seconds, etc. Whenever the user enters data and time values, Tableau automatically registers it under Date data type and Date & Time data value.


4. Boolean values:

As a result of relational calculations, Boolean data type values are formed. The Boolean data values are either True or False. Many a time the result of a relational calculation is unknown, in this situation Null data values are used.


5.Geographic values:

The geographic data values are all that are used in a map. Values such as country name, state name, city, region, postal codes, etc. belong to the geographic data type. The fields of this data type are denoted by a globe icon.


6.Cluster or mixed values:

Sometimes data set contains values having a mixture of data types. Such values are known as cluster group values or mixed data values. In such a situation, users have the option either to handle it manually or allow Tableau to operate on it.












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